Where can GPs access help and support if they are struggling to cope?

GPonline provides a list of organisations that can help GPs and primary care staff who are dealing with stress, burnout and other mental health issues.

Helplines and professional support

NHS Practitioner Health
This is a confidential NHS service for all doctors and dentists in England that can help with issues relating to a mental health concern, including stress or depression, or an addiction problem, in particular where these might affect work. Details on how to access the service are here.

The service will provide support to returning retired doctors and medical students working in clinical practice as a result of the pandemic. During the pandemic NHS Practitioner Health is also running a series of online wellbeing events, including webinars and meetings, while a range of COVID-19 Workforce Wellbeing Videos and a series of podcasts are also available. GPs can access these resources here and a calendar of upcoming events is here.

NHS England coaching service
NHS England has launched a new coaching service to help support GPs and their teams through the COVID-19 outbreak. The service, which has been developed with stakeholders including the RCGP, is available to any member of staff involved with delivering a primary care contract.

GPs using the scheme will receive an initial 45-minute coaching session that will be delivered virtually via a video platform, although telephone appointments will also be available. Sessions are available between 7.15am and 10pm. Those taking part will have access to follow up sessions and ongoing email support, depending on their initial discussion.

For more information and to book a session go to https://people.nhs.uk/lookingafteryoutoo/

NHS England staff mental health and wellbeing hubs
NHS England has launched 40 local staff mental health and wellbeing hubs, which offer rapid clinical assessment by a mental health professional and access to talking therapies. The hubs will be able to refer primary care team members to NHS Practitioner Health if they have more complex needs (doctors and dentists are able to self refer to NHS Practitioner Health). Full details of the hubs are here.

NHS England helpline
GPs and other NHS staff in England can access a new mental health helpline during the COVID-19 outbreak. The helpline, which is being run by the Samaritans and is manned by volunteers, will be open between 7am and 11pm every day, while a text service will be operate on a 24/7 basis. Call 0800 069 6222 or text FRONTLINE to 85258.

A bereavement support line run by Hospice UK is also available on 0300 303 4434, which is open 8am-8pm seven days a week.

BMA Wellbeing Support Services
BMA Wellbeing Support Services (formerly BMA Counselling and Doctors Advisor Service) has a counselling service staffed by professional telephone counsellors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Counsellors are all members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and are bound by strict codes of confidentiality and ethical practice. There is also a peer support service giving doctors and medical students in distress or difficulty the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor who has experience of supporting colleagues. Call 0330 123 1245.

Sick Doctors Trust
Provides support and help for doctors, dentists and medical students who are concerned about their use of drugs or alcohol. A confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0370 444 5163.

DocHealth is a confidential, not-for-profit service giving doctors an opportunity to explore difficulties, both professional and personal, with senior clinicians. It is supported by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF). Call 020 7383 6533 for more information.

Free and confidential support for NHS and social care staff in Wales. To refer yourself for mental health support you need to complete the form here.

Peer support groups

Doctors’ Support Network
A confidential, peer support group for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns including stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychoses and eating disorders. 

British Doctors and Dentists Group
A mutual help group for doctors and dentists who are recovering, or wish to recover, from addiction to or dependency on alcohol or other drugs.

The Doctors Support Group
The Doctors Support Group (DSG) aims to provide support and assistance to medical professionals or dentists facing suspension, exclusion, investigation of complaints and/or allegations of professional misconduct.

Financial help

The Cameron Fund
The only medical benevolent charity which solely supports GPs and their dependents, whether financial problems are due to ill-health, disability, death or loss of employment. This includes both those who are already suffering from financial hardship and those who are facing it.

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund
The RMBF provides support for doctors and their families through all stages of their career and beyond. Our help ranges from financial assistance in the form of grants and loans to a telephone befriending scheme for those who may be isolated and in need of support. Details on how to get help are here.

The Royal Medical Foundation
The Royal Medical Foundation aims to assist doctors and their families who are in financial hardship.

Read more
Practical tips to deal with burnout
> Read GPonline's Wellbeing for GPs series and find more advice

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

NHS logo on tiled wall

GP assistants are no solution to the workforce crisis in general practice, warns RCGP

Plans to recruit more than 1,000 GP assistants in practices across England 'must...

Person looking at a smartphone

GP at Hand to pull out of Birmingham next month

Babylon GP at Hand has decided to pull out of Birmingham at the end of next month,...

Dr Ollie Hart and Dr Devina Maru

How shared decision making can help GPs better meet patients' needs

Dr Ollie Hart and Dr Devina Maru are at opposite phases of their career – Dr Hart...

Stethoscope hung up in medical centre

London faces growing GP workforce gap as workload continues to soar

A surge in vacant GP posts over the past year has left half of London's practices...

Health and social care secretary Therese Coffey

Coffey targets rapid GP access over face-to-face appointments

Therese Coffey has said she 'will not be prescriptive' on how GPs see patients -...


Study reveals 'significant rise in anti-GP rhetoric'

Media coverage of general practice last year saw a 'significant rise in anti-GP rhetoric'...